Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 25

Thread: Guiding in Alaska

  1. #1
    New member
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    4

    Default Guiding in Alaska

    Hey guys,
    I'm not sure if I'm in the right forum so if I'm not then I apologize.This has just been kind of a dream of mine and after talking to a few guys who have done it, I think I'm gonna go for it. I'm from Kansas but I'm living in Washington right now and I am a very avid fly fisherman. I'm 19 and in college right now so I could only work from the middle of May till the end of August but from what I was told, a lot of lodges hire guides just for the summer. The man I talked to said that getting a job wouldn't be too hard if I go through a guide school or something like that, and if I decide to do this I would definitely go through a guide school. I'm a pretty good fly fisherman and I believe that I'm skilled enough but I would obviously need some experience in the area and time to get things figured out. So, with all that out of the way, I just wanted to ask some of you guys about guiding in Alaska. How hard is it to get a job and could I do it during the summer? And what should I do to prepare if I plan on going? And what can I expect or what should I know about Alaska before I go? I just want some basic information like that if anyone can help me out. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Matt

  2. #2
    New member
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    4

    Default

    Oh, and do any of you know of any good guiding schools that you would recommend?

    Thanks

  3. #3

    Default

    Well - I can't say much. I can confirm a few things. One is the timing, yes, most of the guide activity is in the peak summer months; kinda shuts down in early september. The flyfishing guides I've seen - seems to me are generally older than 19 and not "pretty good"; but really good, at fly fishing (based on seeing a few on days off - they generally don't fish when with clients, other than technique demonstration) as well as associated skills (see below). That is, if they are fly fishing guides, and not all guiding is by fly. In fact alot of it in Alaska appears not. Some is. AlaskaWest for example. Alot of the operations are seasonal, and are winter-based in the pacific northwest or nearby (WA, OR, NV, CA). Accordingly, there are many such guides from that area. Many do the winter fish-show tours, others do not, relying primarily on word-of-mouth for a client base.

    Alot of guiding jobs seem to involve related transportation; i.e., drift boat, rafting, various saltwater motor craft, and/or jetboat skills, depending on the location. So skills involving maneuvering such craft, charting and hazard avoidance, anchorage, drifting, repairs as needed, deckhand skills of various sorts (netting, cleaning fish), etc. are involved. Some pilots also guide....which requires another set of skills. On float trips, the guides quadruple duty as guides, rowers, cooks, and camp servants. Hope this helps.

  4. #4
    Member ak_powder_monkey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Eagle River/ Juneau
    Posts
    5,154

    Default

    if you can take crap from people (bosses and clients), live in isolation, do random jobs, and get paid way less than you are worth with a smile on your face then guiding is right for you. I'd recommend getting a resume together and start cold calling lodges.

    Good luck
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

  5. #5

    Default school

    If you're thinking about being a guide on the Kenai River you'll have to attend the Kenai River Guide Academy (google it). Classes are offered in the winter and early spring. Good luck and hope you find the right fit.

  6. #6
    Member moose-head's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    @ Seminary, Dubuque Ia
    Posts
    839

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by tcman View Post
    If you're thinking about being a guide on the Kenai River you'll have to attend the Kenai River Guide Academy (google it). Classes are offered in the winter and early spring. Good luck and hope you find the right fit.
    http://www.kenaifishingacademy.org/ and the textbook is pretty good too. You can find that on Amazon or something.
    If you board the wrong train, it is no use running along the corridor in the other direction.
    Dietrich Bonhoeffer

  7. #7
    Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Wasilla Alaska
    Posts
    456

    Default Or

    Or you could start a new trend amoung flyfishers and go back to Kansas. There you can open up shop guiding clients for those elusive wrinkle nose trout that are quite abundant in your state!
    Mike

  8. #8

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ak_powder_monkey View Post
    if you can take crap from people (bosses and clients), live in isolation, do random jobs, and get paid way less than you are worth with a smile on your face then guiding is right for you. I'd recommend getting a resume together and start cold calling lodges.

    Good luck
    So true....in fact, from what I've been told, what a guide, and some lodges, charge often barely covers expenses. The attraction is apparently something other than money......the exercise, the experience, being outside, having one's own business (even though it may not make any profit)....that sort of thing.

  9. #9

    Default

    + on the above. I guided previously.

    Random jobs are often more of the work than the actual guiding.

    Expect low pay, long hours, the above random jobs, and other not so fun stuff. Also expect the time of your life.

    Also it does't matter so much how great of a fly fisher you are, what matters is how good you are at teaching, dealing with varying types of people, untieing and tieing an unending series of "Oops, I think I have a little snaggle here!"

    As an old commercial fisher from seldovia once told me while I was living in Seattle once said, "Just move the **#!!*& up there and rest will take care of itself!"

    Seventeen years and counting...

  10. #10
    New member
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    4

    Default

    Well I don't mind all the odd jobs or low pay, I've done plenty of that before. I used to work in a mechanic shop in the summers and pretty much most of my job was just odd jobs and ***** work for $8 an hour. I'm not considering this for the money, I'm considering it for the experience and the chance to go to Alaska. When I say I'm a "pretty good" fly fisherman, I mean that I'm not an expert or authority but I can catch fish in just about any river. If you take me out to some random river and give me the necessary equipment, I'm confident that I can catch fish. Maybe not a ton of fish, but I won't get skunked. And as far as learning how to do things like jet boats, drift boats, etc. that's why I would plan on doing a guide school. I'm mainly just looking for a good guide school and some good places to look for a job. I don't need a guide school to learn how to cast and tie knots and all that stuff, I already know that. What I need to learn is all the things that are not fishing, gain some experience with the area, and maybe a little more about salmon fishing because most of what I do is trout fishing.

    Thanks,
    Matt

  11. #11
    Member Vince's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Fairbanks most the time, Ancorage some of the time,& on the road Kicking Anti's all the time
    Posts
    8,989

    Default

    and keepin mind that Alaskans as a rule don't care for non resident guides....
    "If you are on a continuous search to be offended, you will always find what you are looking for; even when it isn't there."

    meet on face book here

  12. #12
    Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    soldotna
    Posts
    841

    Default If you have not been skunked then you have not been fishing long enough to be a guide

    As far as I know there are no guide schools here in Alaska. University of Alaska, Kenai campus has a Kenai River guide academy that is a week long course that is required if you plan to guide on the Kenai River and the week long curriculum is based on getting to know the regulations, different agencies involed, and basic etiquette type things. The Kenai River Guide Academy just covers Kenai River items like the name implies even though some of these items will carry over to all guiding activities.

    The Kenai College also has a Fishing Academy that has several different courses covering various skill levels involving Alaska fishing.

    Been a fishing guide here in Alaska for awhile now and the only way to really learn how to be a guide is to get hands on experience on the water that you plan on fishing or guiding on. My recommendation would be to do a little research on Alaska and find a area that you would be interested in guiding on. It is a big state and there are many different types of fishing such as saltwater, lakes, rivers, streams, and then the different ways to fish for them in the area that you will be fishing. You will find that the ocean is not for everyone and the same for the different types or waters that you might find yourself on. Another piece of advice that I would offer is to fish the system for at least a year before guiding on it. For example if a lodge will hire you for a season as a camp hand with a raise to guide the next season it would give you a chance to learn the ropes.


    I would get an application together and start looking for a lodge or outfitter that is hiring in the usual places such as at sport shows, online, or fishing magazines. There will be jobs available as it gets closer to mid winter with a word of caution that there is a reason that certain outfits or lodges seem to have job openings season after season. Get your western river six pak license in advance if you can or if you plan on running a river power boat.

  13. #13
    Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Fairbanks
    Posts
    17

    Default To increase your chances...

    I would get my USCG 6-pack captains license ("Rivers of Western AK" version/ for fresh water or a full Capts lic for salt and fresh water. See the AK USCG web site for details) and your TWIC card.
    After that you will be very marketable.
    You will need these to run a boat, any motorized boat, in AK.
    You won't need them if you are being flown in or use a raft, but the better paid guides will have the aforementioned.

    Get these ahead of time and you will be set for employment in the Spring.

  14. #14
    Member homerdave's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    homer, alaska
    Posts
    3,922

    Default not sure who said it first...

    but i have heard guiding described as requiring the attributes of both pimp and chauffeur... and having done my share (of guiding ), i would tend to agree.
    Alaska Board of Game 2015 tour... "Kicking the can down the road"
    http://www.alaskabackcountryhunters.org/

  15. #15
    Member Vince's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Fairbanks most the time, Ancorage some of the time,& on the road Kicking Anti's all the time
    Posts
    8,989

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by homerdave View Post
    but i have heard guiding described as requiring the attributes of both pimp and chauffeur... and having done my share (of guiding ), i would tend to agree.
    so as your own pimp... you break your own fingers when you don't put put satisfactorily?
    "If you are on a continuous search to be offended, you will always find what you are looking for; even when it isn't there."

    meet on face book here

  16. #16
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    1,956

    Default

    Here's some of the i nformation you need: http://www.sf.adfg.state.ak.us/Guide...irements.guide

    Fishing guide requirements are a lot less than hunting. Each summer there are large numbers of non resident guides up here.

  17. #17
    New member
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    4

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Vince View Post
    and keepin mind that Alaskans as a rule don't care for non resident guides....
    I understand that, but I sure as hell won't let that stop me. Anyone who would dislike me just because I'm a non-resident is obviously not the sharpest tool in the shed anyway. You can't stereotype every non-resident just because some of them are idiots.

  18. #18
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    6,031

    Default Some NR know more that res.

    Quote Originally Posted by MHutch View Post
    I understand that, but I sure as hell won't let that stop me. Anyone who would dislike me just because I'm a non-resident is obviously not the sharpest tool in the shed anyway. You can't stereotype every non-resident just because some of them are idiots.
    Yes, there are some nonresidents that know more than Alaskans about remote trips. Dan comes to mind; not to call him out, here, but if he chimes in here so the better; he lives Outside but takes more trips to remote parts of of Alaska that the great majority of Alaskans. And a heck of a guy (i.e., not an idiot). Can't classify people based on just residency.

  19. #19
    Member danattherock's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    NC
    Posts
    5,608

    Default One outsider to another...

    Steve, always the gentleman.

    Perhaps there is a little something I could share with Mr. Hutch in Kansas.

    When the resident/non-resident issue comes up, I usually gracefully bow out. For two reasons. One, locals have a right to feel the way they do and without living in the place, I lack the perspective to fully appreciate the issues at hand. Secondly, even if I say something that makes perfect sense, I will piss someone off, if for no other reason than the fact that an outsider said it. But in this case, there is one bit of insight that I can offer that may be of benefit to the OP. First thing you need to realize, residents of Alaska have no reason to want you up there taking a guiding job. No more than you would appreciate having some kid from Alaska come down and take your summer job at the machine shop in Kansas. Simple enough thought here, nothing to really argue about. To be honest, it is surprsing to me that you got so much valuable information on guiding in Alaska on this site in the first place. But the other thought I will bring up is when one talks about local, more particularly "local knowledge". This is a more relative term than many reading this will appreciate. Myself for example, while from North Carolina, I lived in NW Alaska for two years. In that time I met and talked with some great people. These people sensing my enthusiasm for the area perhaps, taught me plenty about the land, animals, fishing, etc... We now take yearly remote float trips in some of the most beautiful country imaginable. The folks in Nome and Kotz that I met, largely speaking, have never seen any of it yet it is literally in their backyards. Well, 80 mile bush flight out into their yard, but you get the point. So when some guy says he wants information about floating a NW arctic river for caribou hunting or dolly varden fishing, would he be best served talking to some guy in Juneau or a guy from North Carolina? One guy is a resident of Alaska, the other is a big ole redneck with a mouth full of chew. Hmm... I will admit, the correct answer is not the obvious one. This is what I meant by "relative" when talking about local knowledge. The long and short of it, if you get a job at a lodge in SW Alaska and work your butt off helping put clients on fish for the next 2-3 summers, are you not then full of "local knowledge"? My thought is yes, of course you are. The best advice you got on this whole thread was from Iceblue in my opinion. Get one of these lodges to hire you as camp help, earn your keep, mouth shut, ears open kind of thing. Express interest, if you still have it, of being a guide the following season. Things should fall into place all by themselves if your interest is a sincere one. You said you wanted the "experience", so go get it man. What the hell you waiting on? Fishing guide, camp helper, camp cook, camp biitch, who cares? Get up there and experience the wonderful bounty that only Alaska can offer. It is a time you will never regret, I assure you. And if it affects you like so many others (myself included), you will be spending more and more time there as the years go by. You will be buying all your groceries and gas on your Alaska Air Visa card and keeping an eye on your Alaska Air miles account in the same way normal folk monitor their bank accounts. You will find yourself looking at the clock and wondering what time it is "up there". You will get a good buzz at night and break out the pictures from your last trip to Alaska. Funny how every time you see them you notice something new. Perhaps you will organize some fly boxes for your next float trip or fishing trip, even though it is 8 months away. You think Kansas sucks now, just wait
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

  20. #20
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    6,031

    Default Just when I'm thinkin' of you Dan, there you are...

    Thanks for chiming in there; I knew you could say it best, and you did.

    I LOVE this part:
    Quote Originally Posted by danattherock View Post
    ...One guy is a resident of Alaska, the other is a big ole redneck with a mouth full of chew. ...
    Too funny.

    Dan, did you know that the sun set here at 4-something-o'clock today? Its getting that time of the year that we need some more stories of your adventures.... Yeah, an Alaskan asking a big ole redneck - its true!

    Somebody, please hit the scales of justice to add some rep to that "ole redneck"; the system won't let me (got to spread the luv first). And maybe plus that'll get him typing some more stories....

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •